Vitamin D, why it’s essential!

When people think of vitamin D, they naturally think of sun exposure. Yes, you can absorb a certain amount of Vitamin D from the sunlight when the UV index is above 3, but what if you’re inside at work all day or live where the sun doesn’t shine often? Can you get Vitamin D from foods and supplements? Do your genetics affect absorption? Here’s what we know about Vitamin D.

Vitamin D and the Sun.
Our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Before it can be absorbed it has to go through a conversion process involving the digestive system, including liver and kidney functions for it to be a utilisable form. Boron, as a supplement, works in conjunction with Vitamin D, appearing to be essential in this conversion process.

What foods contain Vitamin D?

  • liver;
  • eggs;
  • fatty fish;
  • butter and fortified foods;
  • with vegetables providing a low dose of Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D3 is a nutrient that is not only necessary for a healthy immune response, but it is also vital for healthy hormones, healthy neurological function, and healthy bones, among other things. Currently, it is thought to be more hormone-like in its action, and not a true vitamin.

Are you Vitamin D Deficient?
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that approximately 1 in 4 (23%) adults have a mild, moderate or severe Vitamin D deficiency. Why? Many factors may contribute to this, including inadequate sunlight exposure, age (elderly), darker skin tones and, although important, sun protection. In addition, as Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, individuals with poor fat absorption or gluten sensitivity may have a higher risk of a deficiency.

Genetic testing has also revealed the inability of specific genotypes (your genetic make up) to absorb or convert Vitamin D. This raises a question for families with familial osteoporosis or reoccurring skin cancers.

Recently published research has expanded the significant functional interactions of Vitamin D in the prevention of ;

  • cancers
  • type 1 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • and, persistent nonspecific musculoskeletal pain

In the clinic we have also seen low Vitamin D levels are common in clients presenting with prostate and breast cancer and recent onset of Parkinson’s or Dementia. This is why it’s imperative that we review your personal needs.

Additionally, vitamin D may

  • reduce the risk of heart disease;
  • lower blood pressure;
  • reduce inflammation;
  • help manage infections;
  • lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis;
  • boost your mood;
  • assist in weight loss.

As you can see, Vitamin D is very important to the body. If you are worried that you aren’t getting enough vitamin D from the sun, the food you consume, or are concerned your genetics are affecting your absorption, then is it time to consider a consultation with one of our Naturopaths today?